Along with much of the baggage that I have dropped over this past year, I seem to have found new eyes and a new heart for so many things in my life. And the Christmas season seems to be the epitome of this phenomenon for me.
A few days ago, I got a phone call from my nephew's father. He told me that my sister had asked him to come and sign papers to transfer custody. I was in such shock. Something I had been wishing for, for so long, was finally coming to pass. (For those who have not followed this- in a nutshell, my sister is addicted to prescription pain meds. Along with the fact that doing drugs is harmful to the act of raising children, she also got into some deep trouble with how she obtained said drugs, resulting in a coming prison sentence. She has been fighting logic and not wanting to allow my nephew to live with his father.) Of course, I couldn't believe this was actually happening so I had to wait until all i's were dotted and t's were crossed before I would even breathe a word of it to anyone. Now it is official. My nephew, Nathan, is living with his father- long term. I am so happy and grateful. My sister finally did something completely unselfish. I believe this had to be a difficult decision and I know that somewhere inside she is truly hurting. I can only hope that the hurt now will result in growth and less pain later. It is not a good idea for me to contact my sister at this moment so I just want to put it out there in the universe that I love my sister and I thank her for this beautiful gift.
Having some respite from the long battle for my nephew's childhood has certainly added to an overall new ease that has come over me this December. I have always enjoyed Christmas. However, it seems to have been in spite of many things, rather than because of them. My family was always good at presenting a lovely picture. But holidays meant everything was tinged with anger. As much as I never meant to take any of that into my own life and the way I celebrate, it is tough to break habits. No matter how badly you want to. This year, I have spent time getting reacquainted with old friends. I have been able to enjoy the Christmas carols without feeling as if they are pushing me too roughly toward an inevitable test of my ability to perform under pressure. I've done things in an easier way and it feels good. My sister was right when she reminded me last year that, 'it doesn't have to be perfect'. Decorating and celebrating have finally become more joyous and less burdensome.
I'm only sorry that the time is short in a different way. But maybe it doesn't have to be. I've made plans to go away to a warm weather place for New Years. And us uncharacteristic as it is for me, I have not made plans for what I will do or see when I get there. I may actually be able to keep a bit of what Christmas is supposed to be all about, to share with my future. I have made the connection in a real way this year, that you can't rely on others for your own happiness. Sure, I always knew this rationally. But those darn habits brought on by family ties have rarely led me to any sort of rational place. And I have to admit that holidays can be an especially tough time to stop the cycle, no matter how good I am at living well in other aspects of my life. Now I really know that Mom wasn't unhappy because I wasn't good enough and I really never had the ability to save my sister from herself. People have to make their own happiness. And this year, I'm not faking it. That is no small miracle.